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Gloucester Academy

Approach to Student Attendance

Dear Parent/Carer

Gloucester Academy’s Approach to Student Attendance

I am writing to you to inform you of the Academy’s approach to student attendance.

Excellent attendance and punctuality play a crucial role in all students’ academic progress and social and emotional development.  Children who are frequently absent also find it difficult to make and sustain friendships and positive relationships.  In order for your child to achieve their full educational potential, attending every day and on time to all lessons is essential.  In order for children to climb their own personal mountain to the very best universities and professions they must be here every day.  We are clear that we expect 100% every day, with no shortcuts.

Government figures show that:

  • Over 60% of young people with absence rates below 90% fail to achieve five or more good grades of GCSE, and over a third of students do not achieve a good GCSE grade in Mathematics and English.
  • Poor examination results limit young people’s options and poor attendance suggests to colleges and employers that these students are unreliable.

The national average for attendance is 95.6% but we are a school with high standards and high expectations therefore our aim is to achieve 100% attendance overall.  We expect every child to be here every day, with no shortcuts.

There are a number of points we would like to emphasise:

  1. If students have a headache or cold then they can manage and should be sent to school.  If you are unsure, send them in and we will make a decision.  The majority of the time students feel much better when they get into school.  Please continue to keep your child at home if they demonstrate COVID - 19 symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID - 19.
  2. We will always try to keep students in school and are unapologetic about this.  The country’s top performing school last year had an attendance rate of 98%.  This is where we are aiming for your children.  Attendance has the largest impact on student outcomes of any variable.
  3. We will regularly text and meet with parents/carers where we are concerned about attendance.  If your child misses school please expect to be contacted by our attendance improvement team, or our academy leadership team.  We make no apologies for this as we are unapologetically ambitious for all of our children.
  4. Please make hospital, dental and other appointments outside of school hours and keep appointment cards as evidence.  Where this is unavoidable, your child must be in school either side of the appointment.
  5. Students must be in school by – If your child is late, they will receive a 60 minute detention on the same day and you will be contacted via text message. Children should be in school before as gates are locked at exactly.
  6. Contact the academy before if your child is going to be late or absent.  If we are not informed of your child’s absence it will be deemed unauthorised.
  7. Students with attendance under 92% will be referred to the Local Authority.  Penalty fines will also be considered where attendance is below 90%.
  8. We will never authorise holidays in term time.  There are 13 school holiday weeks in the year and parents should organise holidays or visit families abroad during this time.  We understand the issue of prices going up in school holiday time but this is an issue also faced by teachers.  You would not accept your child being taught by supply teachers as their teacher is on holiday so we expect students to be in school in front of their teachers during term time.

We adopt this approach to ensure there is consistency across the academy and for all families.  If you have extenuating circumstances for a non-sickness related absence then you should write to the Deputy Head and we will consider each case on merit.  Where a student has genuine medical reasons for absence, certified by doctors, and goes below 92% then we would not make the referral to the Local Authority.

We will run weekly competitions for students with 100% attendance, two students in each year group will be selected to win a prize each Monday morning.  We will recognise tutor group attendance through a weekly league table, and we will publish this league table in the heartspace.  Whenever we run end of term rewards and trips we will cross reference students against attendance.  If attendance is below a certain threshold we will not allow students to attend trips.  The most obvious and important reward for excellent attendance is excellent outcomes.  This community deserves the best school in the country, in order to reach this goal, we must have every student in, every day.

In order to support your child in reaching our target attendance, it is useful for them to:

  • Organise their bag and equipment the night before.  We ask all parents to check if students have done this. 
  • Go to bed early and have a full night’s sleep.  Remove mobile devices from your child’s room at night to support this happening.
  • Have a healthy breakfast each morning to prepare them for the day.

Thank you for your continued support.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Yours faithfully

Mr N Nabarro                                Mrs C Stevenson

Deputy Headteacher                    Attendance Lead and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead